Pat Metheny: Tap/John Zorn’s Book Of Angels Vol. 20

The ever inquisitive musical mind of Pat Metheny goes from a touring Unity Band back into the studio for a collaboration with composer John Zorn. This album consists of a selection of traditional Jewish songs that Zorn has composed over the years, with Metheny handling all of the instrumentation (sans Antonio Sanchez’s drumming) which means you’ve got Pat on about a gazillion guitars, electronics, the flugelhorn (!) and of course his Orchestrion, among other un-namable things.

The music itself is quite exciting and innovative. Sandwiched between  the electronic bombast of “Matsema” and the chaotically kinetic “Hurmiz” are a collection of wonderfully melodic and mostly acoustic pieces like the haunting “Sariel” and the lyrical and seemingly never ending like a river ”Phanuel.”  The opening piece has some over the top electronic guitar work that is reminiscent of his Song X from a collaboration with  Ornette Coleman. The acoustic pieces have multiple themes; just when you think the piece is over, another theme walks on stage and the story continues in an attractive and not over indulgent manner. The mix of Orchestrion with Sanchez’s human touch has been perfected over time, making it one of jazz’s best new creations. How Metheny keeps getting these ideas makes one hope he donates his brain to science, and at least one guitar to yours truly!

Nonesuch Records

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